Mass learning must mean web-based study

Posted on December 22nd, 2016

Laurence Brockliss, a professor at the University of Oxford, argues that institutional inertia is halting the progress of online courses. Brockliss argues that new technology is providing an opportunity for a new type of mass higher education. Brockliss describes how students could study away from their universities and access resources, including books, lectures, and debates, anywhere, at anytime. Communications could be done via Skype and students could periodically visit their parent institution. Brockliss says, “[Students] could balance study with paid work and finish their courses as quickly or as slowly as they wished.” Brockliss notes this is not a new concept and points to The Open University, which has offered flexible distance learning since 1969. However, while many high-profile institutions have begun developing MOOCs, Brockliss says it is “staggering that the huge advances in communications technology have not prompted any established, mainstream player to adopt distance learning as a core activity.”